What happens when eight twenty-somethings pack their bags and head to Austin?
It's a story many Austinites have heard before—or experienced themselves—and people around their world will soon get an insider's view of that unique experience with Netflix's new reality show "Roaring Twenties," which premieres Dec. 10.
The show follows eight strangers who will live under the same roof in Austin as they seek to "(step) out of their comfort zone" and find adventure. Much like Austin itself, these up-and-coming young people are grappling with finding steady ground during a pandemic. The series is sure to be a heartwarming take on the equally-confusing time that comes just after those coming-of-age movies.
Here's a look at the eight 20-somethings featured in Roaring Twenties:
Natalie Cabo, 26
Natalie Cabo had a more sheltered upbringing than most—her parents filmed her every move in her "strict Latin household" growing up," and her father wouldn't even let her hug boys without covering her chest.
Now, she's ready to make up for lost time, get her first boyfriend and have some fun in Austin.
"She is boldly extroverted yet adorably charming, and is making it her mission to do whatever it takes to get herself boo'd up in Austin, one awkward first date at a time," her bio reads.
Raquel Daniels, 25
As "one of the few black women who works in IT," Daniels may find her happy place in booming tech town Austin.
A Florida A&M grad and model and fashion ambassador on the side, Daniels hopes to add to her resume by making the connections needed to start her tech startup.
"She loves old-fashioneds, playing the stock market and roller skating, but you'll never catch her barefoot unless she's in the pool—she has a phobia of her uncovered feet touching the ground!" her bio reads.
Bruce Stephenson, 23
A Greenville, South Carolina native, Stephenson works with his father at Stephenson Insurance, but he has dreams of working for a professional sports team (preferably baseball). This "corn-fed, responsible guy" is ready to shed his roots and try his luck at a serious relationship while in Austin.
"It's always a party when Bruce is around—he lives by the motto 'LET'S GOOO!'," his bio reads. "He's a good corn-fed, responsible guy who respects women and loves ice cream... maybe a little too much."
Abbey Humphreys, 25
At 25, Houston native Abbey Humphreys has experience beyond her years—she's already a divorcee after marrying her high school sweetheart at 20. Now a microinfluencer, Humphreys hopes to find her identity, explore her bisexuality and get wild in Austin.
"She has no idea who she is or what she wants to do with her life, but she knows she's ready to shed the 'handcuffs' of her marriage and conservative upbringing and get into some trouble in Austin," her bio reads.
Keauno Perez, 28
At 28, Perez is the oldest on the show—and he's already got the accomplishments to show for it as the Coordinator for Residence Education at the University of Arkansas.
Perez came out as gay at 25 after years of struggling with his sexuality in the conservative area where he grew up, and he's now ready to shed his Arkansas roots and find himself in Austin. He's also a second-generation American and the first in his family to graduate from college, according to his bio.
"Keauno is like a puppy everyone immediately falls in love with—but he's never been kissed!" Perez's bio reads. "Keauno is leaving Arkansas behind as he hopes to find his 'gay sensei' in the very LGBTQ+-friendly community in Austin, and maybe a boyfriend to boot!"
Isha Punja, 24
An Irvine, California native, Punja thought until recently that Miami was in Maine. But her lack of geography skills belies her education and ambition: a UC Berkeley economics graduate, Punja is now working to build Hut Mentality, her fashion brand centered on ethical clothing made by indigenous women in rural India.
"Isha is clumsy, gullible, and forgetful, but she knows it, and owns it," Punja's bio reads. "After struggling with depression, she realized she needed to follow her passion, and started designing clothes."
Kamari Bonds, 23
Bonds is one of three 23-year-olds to round out the youngest on the show. A model back in his home of North Carolina, Bonds is former creative business marketing major who hopes to find ways to focus on his entrepreneurship in Austin while continuing to prioritize fitness—and maybe finding love along the way.
"He loves Southern accents and hopes to find a fiery Texan woman to settle down with...eventually," Bonds' official bio reads. "For the next few months in Austin, he wants to play the field, hit the gym, and manifest his destiny... whatever it may be."
Michael Fractor, 23
An Austin native who's moving from Los Angeles, Fractor is attracted to the "weirdos" of his hometown, which is why he hopes Austin is where he can get his stand-up comedy career off the ground. With Joe Rogan in the house and an up-and-coming comedy scene, maybe this is the perfect place for Fractor to pursue his career "with absolutely zero training or experience." While he's "unafraid to bomb night after night," he is desperate for a girlfriend, according to his bio.
"He's chasing this dream wherever it takes him, even if it's to a place of failure and being forced to give it up and make a change," his bio reads.
The first part of the two-part series will premiere on Dec. 10, while the second segment will show on Dec. 17.
Find the cast members' official bios here.
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Lately, the crypto market is looking shaky.
The price of bitcoin fell by more than half from its high, the digital currency luna crashed to $0 and a type of so-called stablecoin TerraUSD has been described as dead.
Reporting from the LA Times notes that experts seeing a correlation between traditional markets and the cryptocurrency market is high right now, with plunges in one being followed by a plunge in the other. On Wednesday, stocks had their worst day in more than two years with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 1,164 points.
Crypto’s volatility has long been questioned, especially after SXSW this year was filled with Web3 enthusiasts and displays.
With 8% of Texans owning Bitcoin and many others involved in the local crypto and Web3 scene, what are they feeling amid the crash?
In a written comment to Austonia, ATX DAO said a positive with the downturn is that “most of the speculative moneygrab type projects get washed out of the market, and the quality projects that deliver real value remain and gather more attention.”
The group went on to say it could work to their advantage as they carry out their latest project: a mural at Native Hostel that will have an NFT version. They’ll use sales toward donations to HOPE Outdoor Gallery, a local nonprofit that supports artists and creatives.
Meanwhile, Yagub Rahimov, a founder of an Austin-based Web3 company explains that they aren’t really impacted by the crash.
Since the company known as Tested Web functions as a Web3 online reputation marketplace, it is utilizing blockchain technology without tokenizing.
“We are a share to earn marketplace. That means that any activity that users have on tested web.com, we will be rewarding,” Rahimov said. “Those rewards are coming in the form of rewards points. And every quarter they can opt in to receive either a gift card or a check. We are not issuing any cryptocurrency. That's one of the important elements that I believe we got it right that way.”
With recent developments at Tested Web, Rahimov says he “couldn’t be happier.” After struggling to find tech talent in early spring, he’s had a hiring spree in the last 10 days and received a $1 million grant and partnership with Silent Notary, a blockchain-powered validation provider.
But his recent business success aside, Rahimov is noticing what’s happening in the markets and predicts that the correlation between the crypto market and traditional one will be broken.
“The way Bitcoin was introduced back in 2009, it was as a reply or response to the 2008 market crash,” Rahimov said. “And it really feels like we are in 2007, 2008, actually, early, early days of the market crash. And if it becomes that way, very likely that the winner is going to be those of decentralized parties.”
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Barton Springs Pool is on a condensed schedule while the city tries to fill out its lifeguard roster.
The popular pool is currently closed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays while it navigates a lifeguard shortage. The city is offering bonuses to new applicants who can start by early June.
Austin Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Jodi Jay said there are 207 lifeguards ready to work and 100 incoming but the department needs 750 to be fully staffed.
Zoom out: The pandemic has had a lasting impact on hiring—in 2019, the city was able to hire 850 lifeguards. The Aquatic Department has been unable to match those numbers since it reopened training classes in spring of 2021.
Why it matters: The city needs at least 400 lifeguards, plus 30 with open water certification, to open pools on a modified schedule by June 4. Without hitting that mark, some facilities could limit hours or close.
The job pays between $16-19 an hour, anyone over 15 can get certified and there are bonuses on the table:
- $500 bonus if you get certified and start working by June 6.
- $500 bonus if you work through August 14.
- $250 bonus if you get advanced certification.